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While waiting for land back, Pikwàkanagàn First Nation is opting to buy back – The Globe and Mail

By the cool water of the Bonnechere River, obscured by bush and an abandoned barn, a plot of land stretches across 170 acres. To some, it’s just an empty lot with maple trees, but to the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation (AOPFN), the land represents an investment in the community’s economic future and self-determination.

Their reserve lies west of Ottawa, near Renfrew County, though their unceded land stretches nine million acres including eastern Ontario and the National Capital Region. For generations, the AOPFN was restrained to 1,800 acres of rocky, unfarmable reserve land. Today, the newly purchased plot is part of the Nation’s plan to develop beyond the reserve’s borders.

Recently elected councillor Don Bilodeau previously led the economic project responsible for developing the economy off-reserve.

“This land is very rich in many ways, and beautiful,” Bilodeau says. “Yet we watch all that’s happening around us and none of it comes back this way. It’s a struggle for anyone to give us more. So, we have to buy back the land that we once were the stewards of a couple of hundred years ago.”

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